Thursday, September 1, 2016

In the Words of the Prophet: Intolerance and the Qur'an

By Richard Kent Matthews

When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.
Let's talk peace...
"If God had so willed, He would have created you one community, but [He has not done so] that He may test you in what He has given you; so compete with one another in good works. To God you shall all return and He will tell you the Truth about that which you have been disputing." (Qur'an 5:48)
Christians, Jews, Muslims--Hear this: You are all Children of the Book. Whether you call your god Yahweh, Christ, or Allah, there is no god but God. Stand down, quit bickering. You are doing yourselves and your causes no good service. Do not destroy what the Source of All That Is has given you; instead, choose to practice compassion among your fellows. If anything is evil, hatred surely tops the list. 
You are called to serve the world, not injure it. You are the one who is central to creating peace on this planet. Do not wait for others to do it first. Step up and accept your responsibility to preserve the world and its children. Let the scales of dissent fall from your eyes. See me, see everyone, as your family. For in truth, that is what we all are.
"Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden (paradise) whose width is that of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous - Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity or in adversity, who restrain (their) anger and pardon (all) men - for God loves those who do good." Chapter 3, Verses 133-134
"When there is peace in the heart, it will find its way into the world." Gandhi

Monday, August 29, 2016

About Religion. Well, What About it, Already?

Image result for religious symbols free clip art

By Richard Kent Matthews

I think of myself as spiritual rather than religious. I also know some folks take issue with that. So be it.

I found this interesting 'comparison' between good religion and not so good religion in, of all places, a job search book.* The author refers to them as healthy religion and unhealthy religion. Potato, po-TAH-to, right?

(Note: Wherever you see these - [ ] - I, Richard, have added a bit of my own, shall we say, expression.)

Here we go...

Healthy religion

  • Is obsessed with gratitude
  • Focuses  on the presence of God in the world, sees holiness everywhere.
  • Sees all the world as 'us.'
  • Is closely related to mental health with its emphasis on repentance (metanoia), or 'Most of my ills are self-inflicted.'
  • Unconsciously exhibits humility.
  • Treasures the differences in others.
  • Has a high sense of 'all the saints' worshipping God together. 
  • Believes in learning from others.
  • Renounces manipulation of others and lets them have their own beliefs.
  • Wants God's forgiveness toward those who have harmed them or follow other gods; forgives readily.
  • Focuses on what one can give out of faith, anxious to give others benefits.
  • Faith is primarily a matter of actions; words are used only to interpret one's actions.

On the other hand...

Unhealthy religion

  • Is obsessed with guilt.
  • Focuses on the presence of evil in the world; sees contamination everywhere. [!]
  • Sees all the world as 'us vs. them.'
  • Is distantly[?] related to mental illness (paranoia) or "'Most of my ills stem from what others are doing 'out there.'"
  • Unconsciously exhibits arrogance.
  • Wants everyone to be like them. [Or else!]
  • Has a high sense of 'the individual alone with his/her God.'
  • Believes in confronting others.
  • Desires to manipulate others into accepting their every belief.
  • Wants God's vengeance toward those who have harmed them or follow other gods; often has low, long simmering anger masked beneath a smile.
  • Focuses on what one gets out of faith, anxious to get for themselves the benefits. [Prosperity gospel?]
  • Faith is primarily a matter of words used as texts or orthodoxy...
  • Doesn't even dream their faith may be unhealthy.

Did anything touch you or annoy you in a particular way? Any areas in which you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts. We'll discuss...

*Thanks to Richard Nelson Bolles in his magnificent book, What Color Is Your Parachute? 2017 Ed.

To the Oregon Culinary Institute - A Ride Connection Event

I had a great time escorting the group from Cherrywood Village to the Oregon Culinary Institute, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.

I love to volunteer and volunteering these past 12 years with Ride Connection has been a true honor.

Ride Connection is always seeking volunteers. Connect by clicking HERE.